York-ie slept well the first night in almost a week without binds on his hands and ankles. Though the same cannot be said for Keiwick, and some others in the company. Many stayed awake most the night, keeping both eyes on York-ie, making sure he would not slit the throats of all the dwarves in their slumber.
The next morning dawned cloudy, and smelled of rain. The rolling fields around them rippled like uneasy waters, and the golden grass was littered with ugly weeds. The sun dimly shone through the clouds, as a pale yellow disc behind the blanket of clouds. The entire company woke, and ate a little something to hold them off as they journeyed on this new day. York-ie does not eat, he despises the cakes they made, and is not fond of bread.
‘You must eat Orc- Ehm, York-ie,’ said Rulldon with a slight grudge in his tone.
‘I am’s not hungry, Orcs can go days withouts food,’ said York-ie.
‘That will do well,’ said Gordon. ‘For we have little enough food for our selves, and we may not have sufficient for you as well.’ York-ie hissed, now only out of habit.
‘Where do we go now?’ asked Gurwick. ‘How does our path lead us to the home of our kin?’
‘We shall make our course north. We will follow the river, and if all goes well, we should reach a path cutting through Mirkwood in two and a half weeks or so. If we take that path, we should come out near Long lake, and Lonely Mountain.’
‘Is it the elf path? I should hope not! I will not walk on a path made by elves! I refuse!’ said Keiwick.
‘Then you better start your way around Mirkwood, it is a long journey, a month at least. You should start soon; we will be waiting at Lonely Mountain for you, if we do not engage in war before your arrival.’ said Gordon.
Keiwick growled through his puffy beard. ‘It is not wise to take an elf path! But it seems I must take it or be left behind. I shall curse it with every step!’ said Keiwick as he ground his teeth together.
‘All is ready sir!’ said a dwarf.
‘Very well Rimli son of Gimli, we will be off!’ The dwarves walked on through the tall grass. For seven days they traveled in the wilderland, walking with a steady pace under the ever-thickening clouds.
On the third night of their journey, York-ie and Dok heard noises in the grass on the rising hill next to them. It sounded like many feet rustling through the weeds, and they even heard an occasional voice, a shrill, growling voice, it would speak one word and not be heard for another two hours or so, and once the voice spoke, all sounds died away.
On the fourth night the clouds opened up and dropped rain unto their heads, it lasted all thru the night and into morning, it finally ceased around noon, but the threat of more rain still lingered. Nothing else happened for the next two days, only long hours of walking and complaining. On the seventh day their path was smooth until they came to a river that has trailed away from the Great River. There on the shore they pondered and discussed ways to get across.
‘We could swim,’ said Bordon.
‘No! We cannot! Many of us cant swim.’ said Dok quickly.
‘Yes I know swimming is not an option.’ said Gordon, gently patting Dok on the shoulder. ‘Our bags would get wet anyhow, whether we all could swim or not, it is not a good idea. Is there any crossings along this river?’
‘No. And if there is, it would be away west at the Mountains, we do not want to go back that way again; it would take us another five days.’ said Keiwick.
‘Maybe we coulds make a canoe?’ asked York-ie. ‘I have mades manysss canoes to get across riverss.’
‘And what will we make it out of? This Johnson grass we have been trotting through?’ asked Keiwick sarcastically.
‘No’s, of courssse not, you musts find a trees, cut it down, and bring it here.’
‘Good luck finding a tree in this land, I have not seen a tree since we left the Mountains,’ said Keiwick.
‘Your eyes must be dull, I saw a tree only two miles back from here,’ said York-ie. ‘A big tree, the poor thing was probably left behind from Mirkwoodss.’
‘And since when has an Orc had pity for trees?’ asked Keiwick.
‘Enough!’ shouted Gordon. ‘York-ie is a part of the company now, you will treat him well! I think York-ie knows what he is talking about, I think it is worth trying, we will send ten Dwarves to go back, find the tree, and bring it back to us.’
The ten dwarves set out to find the tree with ropes, axes, and sacks slung about their waists. ‘It will be a few hours until they return.’ said Bordon.
The company sat around on the pebble shore, talking, practicing their weapon skills, and napping. Some even take off their armor and go for a swim in the cool water. York-ie lay quiet, his eyes closed, thinking about where he will choose to place his new home. He first thought he could find a quiet place along the Misty Mountains, but soon dismissed it from his thoughts. It was not secret enough there, he would be discovered. He thought perhaps the Iron Mountains far southwest from here would do, though he did not know the area, yet it seemed far enough from Mordor and Zork-uk’s domain. Other thoughts flooded his mind; he is in a time that needs much thought and wisdom. York-ie watched the most appalling sight of dwarves with their shirts off; and cringed and hissed at the image. Gordon walked near to him with his hands behind his back, he looked down at York-ie for the first time since the party of dwarves left to search out the tree.
‘They should be back with the wood any time now. I do hope you know the business of canoes; if you know canoes as we know our mining tools, then we will do well,’ he said.
‘The skills of a dwarf towards his mining tools is greatsss, I am sure I do not know canoess as wells, but I know enough.’
‘Hm, ehm, you see, your words right there are not like an Orcs words. A normal Orc would not say that, and a normal Orc would not be helping with making a canoe to cross this river, that is for certain. What is it that makes you this way?’ asked Gordon.
‘I do not knowsss.’ said York-ie. ‘ Perhapsss it is related to the storyss. The storyss that Orcs were elves once, we were once elvess. And every one hundred years, an Orc is bornss with an elf heart. But they are killeds, murdered because they are different.’
‘I had not heard that story before, that Orcs are kin to elves. Obviously a very distant relation,’ said Gordon as he fingered his beard. ‘So you think perhaps you are a long lost piece of your kin, and you caught the heart of an elf from long ago? Very intriguing.’
‘Masters Gordon,’ said York-ie. ‘You speaked of engaging war, and I wass thinkings, are you going to wars ageist Zork-uk?’
‘We are. But I do not ask you to fight your own kind, I have something different in mind.’
‘And what iss itss?’
‘Another time, I will tell you later.’ Suddenly horns blew strong and loud. Gordon and York-ie ran to see what is being called.
‘THEY HAVE RETURNED!’ shouted the dwarves. The ten dwarves wobbled up the hills with a tree trunk on their shoulders. Many more dwarves ran to help them with their burden. They laid the trunk on the shore and every dwarf looked to York-ie.
York-ie first asked for the dwarves to make a fire, and then he ordered five dwarves to start chopping the inside of the canoe out. While these things were being done, he ordered others to go and bring back dry dead leaves or grass. Once the fire was started, and the fuel at his feet, he started a fire in the first scoop that had been cut within the wood. It burned steady and hot; he and two others began chopping into the charred wood, breaking away at the sides, slowly forming the canoe by fire and by groove. Many of the dwarves looked upon York-ie in awe to think an Orc could have so much skill. They tossed the hollow piece of wood into the water, as the smoke billowed into the sky, and the hot flames choke and sizzle under the water. Finally, once nightfall had crept over the hills, the canoe was finished; perhaps not the most elegant piece of work the dwarves had ever seen, but it would get them across the river.
Note: I would like to acknowledge PathtoMTDoom’s wonderful editor Meri, who helps with the proof reading and publication of his work. She has spent a great deal of time both encouraging and helping this young author with his writing. We should all have someone willing to take on a responsibility like that in our lives.
PattoMTDoom’s stories can also be found at https://www.westmarch.net, which is a wonderful site devoted to stories about Tolkien’s Middle Earth. You will also find a link to Westmarch in TORC’s links in the menu.